It's been a couple months since the last Bloomberg-for-President boomlet, and voila: First David Broder's account of their grand meeting, now this NYT report on the all-centrist, all-flakey alliance to put the mayor in the White House. Has-beens, ranging in vintage from the 80s to the summer of this year, are meeting after the Iowa Caucus to give us the bounty of their wisdom.
Former Senator David L. Boren of Oklahoma, who organized the session with former Senator Sam Nunn, a Democrat of Georgia, suggested in an interview that if the prospective major party nominees failed within two months to formally embrace bipartisanship and address the fundamental challenges facing the nation, "I would be among those who would urge Mr. Bloomberg to very seriously consider running for president as an independent."
Among the other participants invited to the session next Sunday and Monday is Senator Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican, who has said he would consider being Mr. Bloomberg's running mate on an independent ticket.
Mr. Boren declined to say which candidate would be strongest, but suggested "some kind of combination of those three: Bloomberg-Hagel, Bloomberg-Nunn." He said Mr. Bloomberg would "not have to spend a lot of time raising money and he would not have to make deals with special interest groups to raise money."
Yes—think of all the special interests Ron Paul's had to suck up to this year for his $30 million! It makes a grown man cry.
Glenn Greenwald slaps Bloomberg around* over at Salon.
Clearly, this is just exactly what our country desperately needs, what it is missing most—a neoconservative, combat-avoiding, Bush-supporting, Middle-East-warmonger who sees U.S. and Israeli interests as indistinguishable and inextricably linked, with a fetish for ever-increasing government control and surveillance, and a background as a Wall St. billionaire. We just haven't had enough of those in our political culture. Our political system, more than anything, is missing the influence of people like that. That's why it's broken: not enough of those.
Obviously, derision is the proper response to the Bloomberg fantasy, but I confess I'm happy there's no people-powered groundswell of support for Bloomberg the way there was for Ross Perot. When Perot started exploring his run in 1992 he was something like a folk hero. He'd tried to send Christmas packages to POWs in Vietnam and he'd hired mercenaries to free employees trapped in revolutionary Iran, an adventure immortalized in Ken Follett's 1983 book On Wings of Eagles (and the TV movie that followed). The Perot surge was the result of a really rancid flavor of populism, from voters who wanted to close the borders, hike taxes, and scrap trade deals, and who believed a pistol-packin' egomaniac was the man who'd lead them to the promised land. The Bloomberg movement is, by comparison, pretty pathetic and harmless.
Also, if it's not already on your blogroll, go and visit Third Party Watch.
(Bonus fun from my Lexising: Peter Applebome's March 29 New York Times report on Perot's mounting bid includes this piece of expertise.
"Ross Perot is the untested wild man, and while that may be attractive here at the beginning, I'm not sure it will be attractive at the end," said Karl Rove, a Republican consultant and party loyalist in Austin. "What's his message? I'm the zillionaire that built his company on government contracts?"
What ever happened to that guy?)
*Not actually hard. He's really tiny.
UPDATE: Just for fun, I used the WSJ's electoral calculator and checked who would win the presidency if Bloomberg ran and spoiled the Democratic candidate in New York while the Democrat won the twin prizes of Ohio and Florida. The result: